Rutledge Praises Easing of Obama Era Lending RuleTue, Jul 7, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s issuance of a revised final rule that will make credit more accessible to Americans. The CFPB rule reverses restrictions imposed on lenders during the Obama Administration.
“Arkansas law already prohibits the types of loans targeted by this unnecessary Obama era rule,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “While loan sharks continue to be a problem by preying on Arkansans with outlandish terms and repayment conditions, I will continue to enforce Arkansas law to prohibit these types of loans.”
Rutledge Applauds SCOTUS Decision Upholding Protections for Consumers Receiving RobocallsMon, Jul 6, 2020
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 which prohibits robocalls to cell phones. The Court also ruled that an exception in the TCPA that exclusively allowed robocalls from federal government debt collectors was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.
“The Supreme Court wisely ruled to protect consumers by upholding federal robocalls protections for Americans.” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans are fed up with these annoying calls and through my work with the legislature and the Federal Communication Commission, this decision brings us one step closer to permanently hanging up on robocalls.”
July is Military Consumer Protection MonthThu, Jul 2, 2020
Rutledge to offer free identity theft webcasts for veterans
LITTLE ROCK – Scam artists will use every trick in the book to take advantage of Americans and no one is immune, even our military service members. July is Military Consumer Month and aims to educate military families about potential deceptive practices that specifically target these families and their unique circumstances. In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 3.2 million reports nationwide, with nearly 650,000 of those complaints categorized as imposter scams.
“It is shocking that there are people in this world that will take advantage of our service members and veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “With such a large military population living in Arkansas, we must use every resource to educate and protect our service members, veterans and their families from experiencing fraud at the hands of con artists.”
Rutledge is offering free webcasts that can assist veterans with consumer protection and how to avoid common scams and identity theft, Wednesday, July 15 and Wednesday, July 29.
In 2015, Rutledge launched the Military and Veterans Initiative at the Attorney General’s Office to assist active duty military, reservists and veterans with consumer-related issues, veterans courts, the Hiring Heroes program and many other collaborative efforts.
Attorney General Rutledge shared the following list from the Federal Trade Commission of the most common complaints filed by service members in Arkansas in 2020 to present day.
- Identity Theft – 2,210 complaints filed
- Credit Bureaus, Info Furnishers and Report Users – 1,016 complaints filed
- Imposter Scams – 458 complaints filed
- Telephone and Mobile Services – 365 complaints filed
- Online Shopping and Negative Reviews – 260 complaints filed
- Banks and Lenders – 238 complaints filed
- Debt Collection – 233 complaints filed
- Auto Related – 153 complaints filed
- Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries – 138 complaints filed
- Internet Services – 127 complaints filed
Military Consumer Month is a partnership between the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Department of Defense and other state and local organizations.
Arkansas military service members, veterans and families should file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office on ArkansasAG.gov or by calling (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge Urges Senate to Pass Law to Fight Shell CompaniesTue, Jun 30, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today led a bipartisan letter signed by 42 attorneys generals urging the U.S. Senate to pass S. 2563, the Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act. The letter was sent to Sen. Mike Crapo, Chairman, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ranking Member, of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. The ILLICIT CASH Act updates the federal framework for fighting money laundering and terrorism financing, which has not been comprehensively reassessed since its inception in the 1970s. It creates new tools for information sharing between financial institutions and law enforcement. Along with that, the Act requires a covered entity to report its “beneficial owners,” the actual people who benefit from or control the entity.
“By passing the ILLICIT CASH Act, Congress would increase transparency in the American financial system,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This increased transparency would make it tougher for criminals to use shell companies to launder money from crimes like drug trafficking, terrorism and tax evasion and give law enforcement the resources they so desperately need.”
The letter led by Attorney General Rutledge recognizes that many states do not have the ability to track information on the actual people who control or benefit from corporations and other entities doing business there. Without that information, states cannot know if an entity is a shell for concealing the illicit proceeds of criminals like drug traffickers, terrorist financiers, tax evaders and corrupt government officials.
Under the ILLICIT CASH Act, certain business entities will have to disclose a “beneficial owner” to the federal government. A beneficial owner is a “natural person” who controls an entity, owns at least 25% of it, or receives economic benefits from it. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of Treasury (FinCEN) will then keep all the disclosed beneficial ownership information in a federal registry. The Act requires FinCEN to release beneficial ownership information to law enforcement agencies, including at the local and state levels.
Rutledge led the letter with Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, which was signed by attorneys general in: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, N. Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Rutledge’s Statement on SCOTUS Splintered Decision Ruling Against Louisiana’s Reasonable Admitting Privileges StatuteMon, Jun 29, 2020
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s splintered decision narrowly ruling against Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act (Act 620) which would require any physician who performs abortions in the state to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. Reflecting the weakness of the abortion practitioners’ position, there was no majority opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts who provided the deciding vote explained that he had only voted to strike down Louisiana’s requirement because he believed this case was identical to an earlier case.
“Abortion is a serious medical procedure that can often have complications and, if not adequately addressed, can leave women with long-term health issues including death,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Despite today's technical decision against Louisiana’s law, the Supreme Court reaffirms common sense laws that ensure protection of women’s health and welfare.”
The Court’s decisions comes after Rutledge led a 20-state coalition of attorneys general in support of Louisiana’s case to protect the safety and welfare of women by requiring admitting privileges to all clinics located in Louisiana. The brief argued the Supreme Court should not allow abortion practitioners to challenge health and safety laws, like those in Louisiana, Arkansas, Indiana and other states on behalf of women.
In March, the case, June Medical Services, LLC. v. Russo was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rutledge Allocates Over $2 Million to Department of Public Safety for Crime VictimsWed, Jun 17, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today the allocation of $2.1 million from the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund to the Department of Public Safety for the Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program. The funds for the program will be used by the Crime Victims Reparation Board to compensate victims and family members of victims of violent crimes as well as ensuring forensic tests can be completed.
“Life is precious and it is tragic that a program like this is necessary,” said General Rutledge. “Arkansas families need to know they will be taken care of even after a violent crime has happened to a loved one.”
“I am deeply grateful to our Attorney General for her compassion to make sure that our child and youth victims of crime get the necessary expert medical forensic exams and lab work to aid not only their legal cases, but to assure them of their well-being and wholeness to start the healing of their hearts and souls,” said Arkansas’s First Lady Susan Hutchinson.
“As a law enforcement officer, I’ve seen first-hand, the hopelessness left in the eyes of people who were victims of a criminal act and even though justice was meted out, the victims are left to rebuild their lives. All too often, these victims are our precious children,” said Secretary Jami Cook. “The Children’s Advocacy Centers provide an invaluable service in the pursuit of justice for our young victims. The compassionate allotment from Attorney General Rutledge will ensure the Crime Victims Reparations Board can help restore some small degree of hope to those who did nothing wrong.”
The Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program was transferred in the Governor’s reorganization to the Department of Public Safety and was previously administered by the Office of Attorney General until 2019. The program provides financial compensation to victims and family members who have suffered personal injury or death as the result of violent crime.
For more information contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8983 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.